Thierry Goldberg Gallery




Barbara Ess


You Are Not I


october 18 - november 15, 2009


Thierry Goldberg Projects is pleased to present new photographs and videos by Barbara Ess, You Are Not I.

Emphasizing the divide between self and other, the title of the exhibition suggests the human burden of separation. The longing to connect to the world—to know and be known—is countered by uncertainties of perception, fears of being overwhelmed, being exposed. Boundaries are erected. Distances are created.

As in Ess’s low resolution pinhole photographs, this group of photographs and videos also use simple lo-fi techniques—mechanically re-photographing or re-contextualizing digital media. The glitches of mediation and inexact copies of copies give these works a furtive quality of being on the hunt, trying to tease out the evasive otherness of the not self.

The strategies Ess uses include shooting video and then photographing still images from that footage on the camera’s LCD screen with a point and shoot camera; then again re-photographing those images. In another group of works, fascinated by watching ordinary but remote non-events unfold in real time on an internet surveillance site, she captures video clips, screen grabs single frames and makes still photographs from them. A series of more personally intimate “stalking” photos are re-photographed from videos shot with a wireless security pinhole camera, each photo featuring a light source that the camera/viewer seems drawn to like a moth to a flame.

Ess’ work here probes, peers out into the world. It seems to ask, what’s it like there where I am not? and provides a glimpse of our yearnings to see through the veil of privacy and the boundaries of certainty.

Barbara Ess lives and works in New York City and Elizaville, NY. She has been making and showing photographs, videos and sound pieces in New York and internationally since the 1980s. She has most recently shown her work at Souterrain, Berlin, Germany; P.S.1/MOMA, Wallspace, NY; and Galerie Frederic Giroux, Paris, France. Her photographs are in numerous museum collections including The Whitney Museum of Art, New York; the Smithsonian Museum, Washington D.C.; the Pompidou Center, Paris; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Ess is an Associate Professor of Photography at Bard College.